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Cody’s awkward retirement angle was very confusing

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AEW Dynamite

Coming in to last night’s (Aug. 4) episode of Dynamite, I figured it would be the last time we’ll see Cody Rhodes on AEW programming for the next month. That’s because he has to film season two of Go-Big Show. If you recall, Cody was written out of AEW’s storylines last year around this same time and also missed All Out 2020 so that he could film season one of that show.

Last year, Cody lost the TNT championship in a squash match against Brodie Lee, and there was an injury angle afterwards to explain his absence from Dynamite. I figured we would get another injury angle this year. Instead, we got a retirement angle that seemingly came out of nowhere. And I was left feeling very confused as the entire scene played out.

Why is Tony Schiavone so adamant about sticking a microphone in the face of this guy who was just knocked out and can’t even get to his feet? Why is Cody retiring after this loss? Would he also have retired if he won the match? Is he just rambling nonsense here because Malakai’s kick knocked him loopy? Why is this interview longer than the actual match?

Cody Rhodes’ abrupt retirement seemed completely implausible to me. I couldn’t buy it for a second, even if he was wearing a salmon jacket. Some of that skepticism of course comes from following the ins and outs of the wrestling world on a daily basis and knowing that Cody needed to be written out of the story. But I didn’t have this same problem last year when Brodie Lee and the Dark Order beat the crap out of him. It looked to me like AEW wanted to come up with a fresh new idea compared to last year, which is a commendable thing. But they ended up booking an awkward retirement angle that didn’t feel anything like a natural progression of what we’ve seen from Cody Rhodes on AEW television.

When Cody gave his retirement speech, he said after three years with his face plastered all over everything, maybe it was time to let others eat at the table. He proudly talked about the rise of AEW, but the part that got an eye roll out of me is when he capped that off by saying “We’re competition!’, as if that’s the ultimate prize he’s been chasing.

Can you imagine if your favorite NFL team came up out of nowhere to have a solid couple of seasons with sustainable long-term improvements, reached the point where they could achieve a minimum record of 10-6 each year, and then suddenly the quarterback in his prime years called it quits because now his team was finally competitive with the best teams in the league? Huh? That wouldn’t make any sense unless the player’s health, passion, physical skills, or contract were in question.

That’s essentially what Cody Rhodes did last night. AEW is doing very well. Dynamite’s demo rating is on the cusp of matching Monday Night Raw. WWE hasn’t had competition on that level in the last 20 years. Are we supposed to believe that instead of staying on this fascinating ride to see how far AEW can go, Cody has instead lost his passion for pro wrestling, or thinks merely being competitive with WWE is the pinnacle of his wrestling career?

I found the entire thing to be very confusing and hard to believe. I’m not someone who rejects Cody Rhodes as babyface or considers him the Triple H of AEW, but when Malakai Black blasted him with that crutch as Cody was trying to leave his boots in the ring, I cheered for the bad guy. Because what Cody was doing didn’t make any sense, and someone needed to restore a sense of normalcy.

Maybe Cody will return in a month and explain that he wasn’t in his right mind after being knocked out by Black. AEW will surely find a way to backtrack from Cody’s apparent retirement whenever he is ready to return. I’m just not sure why they expect me to believe that Cody wants to retire in the first place.